The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Friendship: Sue & Joan

In 1998, as my husband was dying from cancer, Sue Wambaugh was referred to us. Sue was a Lutheran Brotherhood representative with expertise in an area I avoided as often as possible — making plans with our money.

Twelve days later when our eyes met at Abe's funeral, I was surprised and pleased that someone I had just met would honor him by attending. This was my second experience with widowhood, and both times one of my most poignant losses was emotional intimacy. Now there would be no one who knew me so well that they would say a prayer for me as I faced a difficult day at work or who would rejoice with me when I bought a new car all by myself.

After Abe died, Sue taught me that I did have the skills to make the necessary decisions.

One day she asked me to help her create a special gift for her secretary. We began our "stitching nights," knitting prayer shawls for hurting friends, bibs for babies and making labyrinth pillows in counted cross-stitch.

Sometimes I felt uncomfortable invading Sue's home on a Friday night, but I was so lonely. It felt safe to confide in her and talk through my struggles. Then when Sue's marriage dissolved, leaving her and her family deeply scarred, it was my turn to listen and comfort. Before we knew how much we'd need each other, God knew and brought us together.


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